The Troubles refers to a violent thirty-year conflict, at the heart of which lay the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. Over 3,000 people were killed on all sides, and many more damaged by a legacy that continued long past 1998.
After looking at the roots of Catholic discrimination of the Northern Irish state, Coogan points to Orange prejudice in housing, education and jobs and the lack of a Catholic outlet for peaceful protest. He argues that the war in the North started as a civil rights demonstration, but that radical Orange response soon turned protest into war. He takes a close look at Ian Paisley 'the great pornographer'; John Hume, the quiet peacemaker; Gerry Adams, gunman turned peacemaker; and Albert Reynolds, the first prime minister to insist on peace.
In this controversial volume, Coogan covers all parts of the war, from Bloody Sunday in 1972 to the Bobby Sands hunger strike. Although written from a nationalist viewpoint, Coogan has taken a complicated history and explained it simply, with grace and wit.